The Tree of Life in All Its “Abundance”

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Dear Reader:

Last year I received this beautiful “Tree of Life” bracelet from Brooke for my birthday and I haven’t taken it off since….it has become my lucky charm.

The tree does represent life to me and I feel that if it is on my wrist….life continues. I think I would find that I am not alone, with my good luck charm symbol dependence….I imagine many of you can tell me a certain piece of jewelry or picture or some form of ornament that comforts you.

When I did some research on the symbolism of the “Tree of Life” its diversity of meanings, especially in different religions, is far ranged.

Like me….you might interchange the words ‘Tree of Life’ and/or ‘Tree of Knowledge.’ As  teachers we heard the latter most often…but from the Garden of Eden…we know the apple taken from the tree gave Adam and Eve knowledge of good and evil…which has defined our existence ever since….the world we must live in during our stay here on earth.

In Catholic Christianity, the Tree of Life represents the immaculate state of humanity free from corruption and “Original Sin”  before the Fall.

Pope Benedict XVI has said that “the Cross is the true tree of life.”

Saint Bonaventure taught that the medicinal fruit of the Tree of Life is Christ himself.

Saint Albert the Great taught that the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, is the Fruit of the Tree of Life.

In Eastern Christianity the Tree of life is the love of God.

…………………………….

It is this last definition that I sense whenever I look down and see the “tree of life” dangling from my wrist….love. The love of friendship and the love of God….protecting me from all harm.

I, also, think of the tree as being one of “abundance” because my life is so full of the fruits of love, gratitude, and blessings.

In Sunday School we were discussing the idea of the “abundant life” and realize that it doesn’t infer material goods….as much as many Christians would like to believe (and have been lead to believe.)

I found this paragraph in my research on the abundant life that echoed my definition of it.

This word “abundant” in the Greek is perisson, meaning “exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous, a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate.” In short, Jesus promises us a life far better than we could ever imagine, a concept reminiscent of 1 Corinthians 2: 9: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

The apostle Paul tells us something that is utterly profound: God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think and He does it by His power, a power that is at work within us if we belong to Him (Ephesians 3:20)

1 Corinthians 1: 26-29. In terms of economic, academic, and social status, most Christians do not come from the privileged classes. Clearly then, abundant life does not consist of an abundance of material things. If that were the case, Jesus would have been the wealthiest of men. 

Just as we become new creations when we come to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) so must our understanding of “abundance” be transformed.

True abundant life consists of an abundance of love, joy, peace, and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23, not an abundance of “stuff.” It consists of life that is eternal and, as such, our interest is in the eternal, not the temporal.

(Source: “What Does Abundant Life Really Mean?”)

Love, joy, peace, and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit….not “stuff”…like the kind I am continuously trying to get rid of in this stage of my life.

I love this little anecdote about the true meaning of “abundance.”

“True Abundant Life”

One day a man stopped in a convenience store to get a newspaper. He noticed that the owner of the store had tears in his eyes and kept looking out the window. He asked what was going on.

The store owner said, “Do you see that bus bench over there?

There’s a woman who comes there every day around this time. She sits there for about an hour, knitting and waiting. Buses come and go, but she never gets on one and no one ever gets off for her to meet. The other day, I carried her a cup of coffee and sat with her for a while.

“Her only son lives a long way away. She last saw him two years ago, when he boarded one of the buses right there. He is married now, and she has never met her daughter-in-law or seen their new child. She told me, ‘It helps to come here and wait. I pray for them as I knit little things for the baby, and I imagine them in their tiny apartment, saving money to come home. I can’t wait to see them.'”

The reason the owner was looking out the window at that particular moment was that the three of them — the son, his wife and their small child — were just getting off the bus. The look on the woman’s face when this small family fell into her arms was one of pure joy. And this joy only increased when she looked into the face of her grandchild for the first time. The store owner commented, “I’ll never forget that look as long as I live.”

The next day the same man returned to the convenience store. The owner was again behind the counter. Before the store owner could say or do anything, the customer said, “You sent her son the money for the bus tickets, didn’t you?”

The store owner looked back with eyes full of love and a smile and replied, “Yes, I sent the money.” Then he repeated his statement from the day before, “I’ll never forget that look as long as I live.” This man had discovered a measure of the abundant life.

Source: King Duncan ….Sermons. com

So until tomorrow….My wish for everyone is that we learn to live the “abundant” life God wants for us…which can only be achieved by reaching back and pulling the next fellow up.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* I heard this cute “mistake” in a Biblical book on funnies and religion…and thought how much wisdom comes from so many of our mistakes.

A little girl had learned the first two lines of the 23rd Psalm and wanted to say it for her parents…..

She began reciting the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd; that’s all I want.” 

(It’s the best definition of the “abundant life” I have heard.)

 

 

 

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to The Tree of Life in All Its “Abundance”

  1. Honey Burrell says:

    Thank you for making my life more abundant each and everyday as I read your blog. Lol,Honey

    Like

  2. Becky Dingle says:

    Too sweet…just like my Honey! Are y’all having these beautiful days finally that we are having?

    Like

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